On Friday, my dad took the day off and I joined him for a photo tour up the coast. We reconsidered just a bit because of the high gas prices, but ultimately decided it would be fun. We made it a whole day trip, taking into account many of the suggestions Suzan made (in a comment to my post last week).
We drove up in the morning and went to Franceschi Park for some great views overlooking the city. And while the views were great, it was fairly foggy so we didn’t take any photos of the view. We went to the Mission Santa Barbara and took some more photos of the exterior – there was a beautiful blue sky in the direction we shot.
After this brief stop in S.B., we followed the Old Stagecoach Route through the San Marcos Pass. It was a two lane windy road that went for a few miles through a pass where there is now a highway. It is popular with motorcycles and there is a historic restaurant called Old Springs Tavern. It was established in 1865 as a relay station where stagecoaches could stop, horses could be switched and riders could eat. It is apparently a famous eating stop, but I must say I was not impressed. History aside, I thought their “famous” chili was mediocre (and extraordinarily salty) and the service was pretty terrible – this being a Friday lunchtime stop. Interestingly, Wikipedia points out that this restaurant serves steak, venison, rabbit, duck, lamb, kangaroo, and bear (and has served lion). Those must be on the dinner menu! No pictures there, sorry. Google it.
Through the pass, we got to Santa Ynez and drove by some wineries I had researched. Wineries frequently have really nice looking grounds and can be a good place to wander for photos. It was just a few months ago that Kellie and I got some great photos at the wineries in Villány, Hungary. We went to two wineries today.
Next we went a few miles north to Los Olivos – home of many, many wineries. We went to Fess Parker’s winery. The late Fess Parker was the actor who played Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. He has a highly-regarded winery and we stopped by to check it out. We went it for a tasting of 9 different wines (for $12). It included 3 whites, 6 reds, and a dessert-style port. At least 3 of the wines are $55 a bottle and the cheapest was $30. Plus it was served in a Riedel glass etched with a coonskin cap, and we got to keep the glasses. My dad liked the chardonnay best, I liked the Pinot Noir (Ashley’s Vineyard) and the Syrah (Rodney’s Vineyard-where we were) best. Outside the tasting room, we wandered around and saw the production area out back. The first thing my dad noticed as that the signs said to be alert, but not to “keep out.” We hovered around a bit and then a forklift operator noticed me and waived us up to the building. We were able to stand there and watch as he was lifting crates of red grapes up to a conveyor belt where two others were inspecting them before they were de-stemmed.
A short drive took us to Solvang, a city founded by Dutch immigrants and now a very tourist-centered vacation spot full of Dutch Bakeries, Dutch-style architecture, and stuff like that. I felt oddly uninspired photographically. I instantly realized it was because how can I take pictures of a (fake) Dutch-looking city in the US, after living in Europe and having the opportunity to see the real thing. So I took no photos in Solvang.
On the way back toward the coast, we pulled in to Gaviota State Park (without paying) where I dropped my dad off for some photos and drove back outside the park to wait for him. While out there, I saw a road going up the hill so I explored. This road went up alongside the park, taking me up to the train tracks and a great view of both the ocean and the bridge where the train tracks go over the park.
Then we drove back home by way of a camera store in Santa Barbara.
A great day with lots of cool photos.